Syria's deputy foreign minister has called on the country's Kurds to rejoin the government side after apparently being abandoned by their U.S. allies as northeastern Syria braces for an imminent Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish militias there.
Faisal Mekdad urges the Syrian Kurds to return to the government rather than "plunge into the abyss" — a reference to the expected Turkish incursion.
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His comments were published in the pro-government daily Al-Watan on Tuesday, the first Syrian reaction since President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to stand aside along Syria's northeastern border with Turkey.
U.S. President Donald Trump cast his decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from "endless war" in the Middle East, even as Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility.
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Trump declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on the Kurds, who have fought alongside Americans for years, but he then threatened to destroy the Turks' economy if they went too far
Trump's announcement has infuriated the Syrian Kurds, who stand to lose the autonomy they gained during Syria's civil war.
Mekdad says the homeland "welcomes all its sons" and that Damascus will solve all Syrian problems in a positive way, without violence.
He said Syria will defend all Syrian territory and will not accept any occupation.